(December 18, 2018) Blue Ocean Network is just back from DEMA Show 2018. BON is a member of DEMA and has sent credentialed media representatives to the show since 2009. The annual Diving Equipment and Marketing Association Show is where the scuba diving, marine conservation and marine tourism industries come together to talk shop, do deals and learn more.
In the past 10 years, we’ve seen a surprising increase in the number of marine conservation NGO’s participating at the DEMA Show and even more businesses starting up their own foundations. Here are our favorites for the top five conservation organizations that exhibited at DEMA Show 2018 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
1. Shark Allies
In July 2018 TV Show Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban went on Discovery’s Shark Week in an effort to raise $50,000 for anti-finning organization Shark Allies, and shared an alarming statistic. Florida is the number one shark finning hub in the United States, contributing to the dismemberment and death of over 100,000,000 sharks globally every year. “I don’t think Floridians realize that more finned sharks go through the ports of Miami than anywhere else,” said Cuban. “We need to stop that.” Shark Allies didn’t win the $50,000, but the jarring call-to-action has propelled Founder Stefanie Brendl and her team to new heights of activism and impact. Shark Allies’ work has assisted not only shark conservation but has shone a big spotlight on ocean conservation in general. Assist in the mission to end the sale and trade of shark fins globally, visit Shark Allies.
2. Lionfish University
Seemingly a sleeper organization, Lionfish University was sitting in the audience last year, and now is at the forefront of lionfish activism with crowds at its DEMA Booth, and a seat on the main stage panel at the Lionfish Update. Lionfish University is a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness and reducing the damage caused by the invasive lionfish in the Caribbean. The group is working with Dr. Stephen Gittings of NOAA to develop effective, inexpensive traps for the invasive lionfish. With a growing network of Field Reporters who test traps and discover new ways of fighting the lionfish, Lionfish University a force to be reckoned with… kind of like, lionfish. Learn more and participate at LionfishUniversity.org.
3. Force Blue
We love Force Blue. Their mission is simple. Their integrity is unassailable. Help vets. Help our blue planet. These retired special ops veterans have taken on the fight to save coral reefs, and their work is awesome. FORCE BLUE unveiled “PROJECT PROTECT”, the nonprofit organization’s plan to move all its operations to South Florida for the next three years (2019-2021) to assist the state in its ongoing efforts to rescue, preserve and restore the vitally important, critically threatened Florida Coral Reef Tract. Learn how to get involved at forceblueteam.org.
4.Reef Environmental Education Foundation
REEF–you are a conservationist’s dream—a perfection of science, policy, research, and education they are spreading their work around the world. Offering stellar internships to recent graduates all the way to renowned scholars, REEF continues to make a difference after more than two decades of service. REEF has proven their citizen science approach is working to provide accurate (therefore reliable) baseline fish population data, along with all-important updates that scientists and marine parks managers can use. Check out their research projects, calendar of events and other resources at www.reef.org.
5. Fins Attached
Fins Attached has exponentially grown in their recognition as a conservation leader through various efforts leading to research development and policy change. Fins Attached recently acquired and remodeled a Japanese fishing vessel into a state of the art research vessel Sharkwater, named for the late conservation advocate and filmmaker Rob Stewart (who appeared in Summit 2015). To join science expeditions to remote locations in the eastern tropical pacific onboard the beautiful Sharkwater visit FinsAttached.org
We know there are many excellent conservation missions out there, but only a few had booths at DEMA Show 2018. We applaud you all for your work!
DEMA is a non-profit trade association based in San Diego, California, representing the business and consumer interests of the recreational scuba and snorkel diving industries all over the world. DEMA’s mission is to bring businesses together to grow the diving industry worldwide. Protecting our marine environments is an issue about which diving businesses around the country can and do come together. For more information visit DEMA and the DEMA Show.
By Laurie Wilson, Blue Ocean Network
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